ISLANDS A BIG SUCCESS

A month after opening, I recently dined at the new Islands restaurant in La Cumbre Plaza on a rainy Monday night and the place was packed. Manager Ryan Coghill tells me that this has been the busiest opening of any Islands restaurant he has ever seen, and that he has worked at many of them. Islands Santa Barbara has been serving nearly 6,000 guests a week which makes it one of the busiest restaurants on the South Coast. We enjoyed the Malibu Burger, Hawaiian Burger and the Beach Bowl. Service from the waitstaff Summer and Matthew was outstanding.

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THE CRYSTAL BALL KNOWS ALL

After intense concentration and a wave of my hand over the all-knowing crystal ball, my eatery oracle has revealed a list of food and drink locations appearing in your future:

  • 212 Hot Pot, 6533 Trigo Rd., Isla Vista (formerly Kol’s café)
  • Cafe Ana, 1201 Anacapa St. (formerly Coffee Cat)
  • Captain Fatty’s, 214 State St. (formerly Union Ale)
  • Choppa Ice Cream, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta (formerly Zizzo’s)
  • Copenhagen Sausage Garden, the Funk Zone
  • Corazon, 214 State St. (formerly Rebar)
  • Creamistry, 935 State St. (formerly True Religion clothing)
  • Crush Tasting Room and Kitchen, 432 East Haley St.
  • Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Montecito
  • Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen, 35 State St. (at Hotel Californian)
  • Flightline, 521 Firestone Rd., Goleta (replacing High Sierra Grill)
  • Frankland’s Crab and Company, 1295 Coast Village Rd. (Montecito Inn)
  • Good Earth Pizza, 6576 Trigo Rd., Isla Vista
  • Institution Ale, 516 State St. (formerly Caffe Primo)
  • Khao Kaeng by Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Montecito
  • La Entrada de Santa Barbara, 30 State St.
  • Libertine Brewing Company, 430 State St.
  • Mizza, 1112 State St. (formerly La Arcada Bistro)
  • Modern Times Beer, 418 State St. (formerly India House)
  • Monarch, 1295 Coast Village Road (inside Montecito Inn)
  • New Szechuan Garden, 2840 De la Vina St. (formerly Yen Ching)
  • Night Lizard Brewing Company, 607 State St. (next to Radio Shack)
  • Oku, 29 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (formerly El Torito)
  • enaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, Carpinteria Ave. at Holly, Carpinteria
  • Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Montecito
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 2315 Lillie Ave., Summerland (formerly Stacky’s Seaside)
  • Starbucks, 7127 Hollister Ave. (inside Albertsons)
  • Starbucks Drive-Thru, empty lot at Turnpike Ave. and Calle Real
  • The Daisy, 1221 State St.
  • Vegan Green, 3613 State St. (formerly Miso Hungry)
  • Unnamed, 1305 State St. (formerly Downey’s)
  • Unnamed, 23 E. Cabrillo Blvd (formerly a cinnamon bun place)
  • Unnamed, 29 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (formerly El Torito)
  • Unnamed Seafood, 5096 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria (formerly The Nugget)
  • Unnamed Thai Ice Cream, 716 State St.(formerly MAC Cosmetics)
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THE DAISY COMING TO STATE

Reader Bruce spotted a sign at 1221 State Street, a couple of doors down from Arigato, that indicates an eating place by the name of The Daisy is coming. It is owned by Thistle and Poppy, Inc. and they are applying for a beer & wine permit. This space used to be a McDonald’s back in the 1980’s before they moved to their current home further down the block.

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MAX’S TO CLOSE AFTER 33 YEARS

This just in from Max’s Restaurant & Cucina at 3514 State Street:

“Max’s Restaurant & Cucina, a longtime breakfast/brunch/lunch institution, as well as the home of many winemaker dinners, will be closing towards the end of this month after 33 years in business.  Proprietor Henrietta Forystek is retiring after a long career there, starting as an employee and then becoming owner.  For a very short while, you can still enjoy the fluffiest omelets and best French toast in town to start your day, and then end with an upscale Italian meal and excellent reserve wine list for dinner.  Hurry to enjoy your last visit at Max’s, 3514 State, St., (805) 898-9121. Open daily for breakfast/lunch, Tuesday-Saturday for dinner.”

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FRANKLAND’S COMING SOON

Reader Annie says that Frankland’s Crab Shack at Montecito Inn opens up this month.  Annie says that the restaurant coming next door scratched the name Scratch and will be named Monarch instead. Monarch is owned by same owners of Frankland’s.

Photo by Primetime

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NEW BREW ON STATE

Reader Steve H. says that Libertine Brewing Company is coming to 430 State Street, which is a few doors down from the new Craft Ramen. I am told that they have locations in San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay, pubs serving wild-yeast beer and wine (76 taps), coffee and food. Visit libertinebrewing.com

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CARPINTERIA UPDATE

This just in from reader Ozzie: “I hear a new restaurant will be opening at the old Nugget location in Carpinteria.  Rumor has it that it will be a seafood place.  There has been a lot of construction activity there the last few weeks there.  Hope this is true Carp needs a great seafood place. “

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BLUEWATER GRILL READY TO OPEN

On November 2016 I broke the news that Bluewater Grill is coming to Santa Barbara at 15 East Cabrillo Boulevard. Now I’m happy to report that the sustainable seafood eatery has arrived, with an official opening day of Monday, March 12th though you might be able to get in as early as this weekend.

Bluewater Grill will serve lunch, dinner and small plates daily on two floors of a rebuilt landmark lighthouse structure at the foot of Stearn’s Wharf previously occupied by Rusty’s Pizza (now at 111 State Street) and the Castagnola Lobster House. Features of the elaborately reconstructed building include an oyster bar, dining counter overlooking an open kitchen and an upstairs dining patio and inside/outside bar offering spectacular beach views, Santa Barbara County wine flights and locally caught seafood purchased directly from local commercial fisherman.

Leaders in sustainability, owners Richard Staunton, James Ulcickas and a group of local investors will source much of their seafood and shellfish from area fisherman as part of a long-term commitment to sustainability certification by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and other organizations. Staunton and Ulcickas regularly fish the Channel Islands from the restaurant’s Pilikia swordfish harpoon boat to humanely catch pristine-quality swordfish.

“We’ve been working to bring our message of seafood sustainability to Santa Barbara for more than a decade, and are delighted this day is almost here,” said Ulcickas. “Since all of us in the Bluewater family are fans of the sea, it is in our best interests to preserve the wonders of fresh seafood, both simply grilled and in expert chef’s creations, for future generations.”

Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara is supporting Round it Up America, a nonprofit organization that encourages restaurant patrons across the country to “round-up” their purchases to the newest dollar to support local causes including Thomas Fire and Flood relief. “All of us in the Bluewater family look forward to doing what we can in 2018 to come alongside residents, firefighters and others in our local community impacted by the disasters,” said Ulcickas.

Chanel Ducharme, former chef de cuisine at the Hungry Cat in Santa Barbara, is executive chef, and Colin Lohenry, part of the team at the original Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach’s Cannery Village, is Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara general manager. The restaurant blends an upscale coastal casual theme with subtle references to the founders’ ties to the Central Coast. The restaurant will regularly reprint its lunch and dinner menus to be able showcase up to 40 varieties of fresh seafood annually, and offers a kid’s menu certified by the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program and a weekday small plates menu of $4, $6 and $8 drink and appetizer specials.

An expected highlight is a year-long calendar of seasonal seafood specials and monthly Chef’s Tasting events pairing seafood with hand-selected wines, sakes or specialty draught beers. Hosted the second Tuesday of every month, the events have become a popular monthly diversion for local seafood aficionados in other Bluewater neighborhoods.

In addition to the original location in Newport’s Cannery Village, there are Bluewater Grills at King Harbor in Redondo Beach, in the Camelback neighborhood of central Phoenix and in Temecula Wine Country in Southern California’s Inland Empire.  As part of the company’s commitment to one-of-a-kind settings, Bluewater Avalon and Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill serve locally caught seafood from two of Southern California’s most picturesque locations: over the water on Avalon Bay on Santa Catalina Island, and in the former Hotel del Coronado boathouse on Coronado Island in San Diego, respectively. Bluewater founders opened a seventh restaurant in Carlsbad Village and on the Santa Barbara beachfront in November 2017 and March 2018, respectively.

Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara will open at 11am daily for lunch and dinner, and close at 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11pm on Friday and Saturday.  For information on menus, seasonal specials, tastings, events and promotions, follow the restaurant on Facebook, twitter or Instagram, or visit bluewatergrill.com. Bluewater restaurant also has its own Facebook page for restaurant-specific menu offers, recipes, events and local happenings.

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LA ARCADA BISTRO TO BECOME A PIZZA PLACE

I spoke with La Arcada Bistro at 1112 State Street and was told that the business was sold and will close when escrow does in late March. Reader Gerry (and a few others) tell me that this will be a second location for Pizza Mizza but I have been unable to confirm this.

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THAI ICE CREAM COMING TO STATE

Reader Steve H. says that the retail space at 716 State Street, previously MAC Cosmetics, will become a restaurant that serves Thai-Style Rolled Ice Cream, a new style of ice cream that started in Southeast Asia and is spreading in the United States. Some people call it “Thai stir-fried ice cream” because it looks like it is made on a hot grill, in the same way people cook meat and vegetables but the grill used for making the treat is actually extremely cold. The ice cream “chefs” add things like cookies, candy, and even pizza into the ice cream mixture. Then, the ice cream begins to freeze. Next, the chef spreads it in a thin layer over the cold surface. After a few seconds, the chef uses a tool to scrape the ice cream off the cold surface and turn it into a roll. The rolls are then put in a cup and covered with fruit or flavored syrup.

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RUMOR MILL

Last September I published a rumor that the old El Torito/España space at 29 East Cabrillo Boulevard will reopen this year as two restaurants. I said that one will be run by Carlos Luna, the owner of Los Agaves, and the other will be run by Tina Takaya from Opal restaurant. Word on the street is that Takaya’s half of the restaurant space is going to be named Oku and that an upstairs deck area is planned. Rumor has it that Takaya is also taking over the bicycle place next door (the old cinnamon bun eatery) to open a casual breakfast restaurant. As for the other half of the former-El Torito/España space, I’m hearing that the name of the restaurant will be Ledbetter. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

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THE LITTLE DOOR REOPENS

One of the reasons I love this job is because every now and then I receive emails like this: “Hi John, unofficially The Little Door is open, across from the sunken gardens at 129 East Anapamu Street. We are just working out the kinks before any advertising. I’m behind the bar Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights after 5 p.m. Stop in sometime and I’ll buy you a drink! Cheers, Travis Gottlob.”

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THE GRILLED CHEESE TRUCK ROLLS IN TO ISLA VISTA

Reader Cris let me know that The Grilled Cheese Truck restaurant has opened at 956 Embarcadero Del Norte in Isla Vista, the former home of Santa Ynez Burrito, Kogilicious, Sushilicious, Korean BBQ House and Berrilicious. This is the restaurant’s first retail location. Since 2009 Grilled Cheese Truck has been an actual truck, rolling all over the streets of Los Angeles. Following the opening of the Isla Vista location, Grilled Cheese Truck plans to expand truck services to New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and open a second physical location in Los Angeles.

David Danhi is the founder and culinary force behind the Grilled Cheese Truck which has achieved significant popularity in California with numerous accolades including “Best Food Truck” over 8 times from various media outlets and review guides including: CBS LA.com (2012), LA Times Readers Choice Award (2011), Klout.com “Most Influential Food Truck” (2010& 2011), LA Hot List (2011), ABC Channel 7 (2010), and Mobliecravings.com (2010), just to name a few. Mr. Danhi has been engaged in the restaurant and food business for 30 years, with his melts having appeared on numerous lists, naming them some of the best-grilled cheese creations in the industry. Mr. Danhi is also the architect of The Grilled Cheese Truck’s social media initiatives where truck is listed as the 3rd most influential ‘tweeter’ in Los Angeles.

The menu offers seven signature melts ($7-$9) including Cheese Mac & Rib Melt (sharp cheddar cheese with house smoked bbq pork, southern macaroni & cheese, and caramelized onions on French bread), Cheesey Mac Melt (sharp cheddar cheese with southern style macaroni & cheese)), Not-So-Classic-Melt (sharp cheddar cheese with oven roasted ham, fresh spinach, crushed tater tots on wheat bread), Brie Melt (double cream brie with homemade bacon onion marmalade and chopped smokehouse almonds on French bread), Buffalo Chicken Melt (spicy roasted buffalo chicken with habanero jack, blue cheese, and celery coleslaw on French bread), Three Cheese Melt (choose any three cheeses – sharp cheddar, double cream brie, and blue cheese recommended, on French bread), and Goat Cheese Melt (herbed goat cheese with roasted peppers, fresh red onions, avocado, and fresh spinach on wheat bread). The menu also includes several Plain-N- Simple melts, Build-Your-Own melts and a variety tator tots and sweet potato tots.

Grilled Cheese Truck is open Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-midnight, and Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Call 845-0566 or visit thegrilledcheesetruck.com.

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POKECEVICHE OPENS IN PASEO NUEVO

Reader Rich let me know that PokeCeviche has opened in Paseo Nuevo mall, their third location. Last May I reported PokeCeviche was coming to 313 Paseo Nuevo which is the space immediately to the left of former tenant Brookstone. PokeCeviche’s flagship store is in The Collection in Oxnard and they opened their second restaurant last year at 901 Embarcadero del Mar #102 in Isla Vista. Two new locations in the Los Angeles area are in the works.

As the name implies PokeCeviche offers Poke bowls, which is a hugely popular food craze sweeping the nation and some points of the globe. “PokeCeviche is a seafood restaurant that combines Latin American ceviche with Hawaiian Poke,” says owner Andy Kuan. “We focus on offering fresh ingredients that fits a healthy and flexible diet. You will find health-centric options such as zero-calorie noodles and low-carb kelp noodles to customize your poke and ceviche bowls.”

The menu offers Signature Bowls and Custom Bowls. The Signature bowls come in three sizes for $8.95, $10.95, and $12.95, and includes Spicy Ceviche (jalapeno Spanish rice, spicy fish ceviche, pico de gallo, yellow corn, takis fuego), Sushi Poke (matcha white rice, tuna, signature sauce, masago, green onions funkake), Classic Shrimp (quinoa brown rice, classic shrimp ceviche, yellow corn, cucumbers, tortilla flakes), and Low-Carb Protein (low-carb kelp noodles, salmon, signature sauce, masagoi, cucumbers, funkake).

The Custom Bowls also come in three sizes: Skinny ($9.95), Regular ($11.95), and Sumo ($13.95). Skinny includes, one base (rice, lettuce, noodles, etc.), two proteins, a choice of sauce, and up to 22 toppings. The Regular bowl is similar but includes two bases and three proteins, while the Sumo bowl comes with three bases and four proteins.

Hours are Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.–8 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Hours subject to change. Visit pokeceviche.com.

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EL PASTORCITO UPDATE

Taqueria El Pastorcito at 4427 Hollister Avenue in Goleta updated their hours and are now closing at 5:30 p.m. I am told that they will switch back to usual hours of 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, starting in April.

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TACO TUYO VEGAN TAKE-OUT OPENS ON HALEY

Santa Barbara Independent reporter Molly Forster has announced that Taco Tuyo, a vegan Mexican food takeout restaurant, opened its doors in January at 724 East Haley Street. Forster reports that owner Steven Sysum’s mission is to provide Santa Barbara with healthy, tasty, affordable food using traditional Mexican flavors that we all know and love. Forster adds that Sysum aims to introduce a different style of Mexican food to Santa Barbara rather than the meat-heavy Mexicali food that most of us are used to. Sysum describes his business as follows:

“Taco Tuyo is the first restaurant of its kind on the Central Coast, and perhaps in California. It’s meant to be fun, casual, healthy, and communal. Taco Tuyo seeks to be a place where regulars can stop in for a quick bite or meet up with friends and family for delicious meals, and where visitors can learn that Santa Barbara is the best place to showcase such healthful and flavorful plant-based Mexican food at a reasonable price. Taco Tuyo also exists for more than food. 2% of its profits go to a local non-profit whose mission is to end homelessness. We also participate in composting and environmentally-friendly practices behind the scenes. We support local farmers by buying local and seasonal ingredients where possible. We use only Earth-friendly takeout packaging. We want to educate people about the benefit of eating healthy.” Call 319-3627 or visit tacotuyo.com.

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ROSE CAFÉ CLOSES… THEN REOPENS

In January of last year I reported that the family that owns Rose Cafe at 424 East Haley Street has decided to close the restaurant in 2021 which will be the eatery’s 85th year in business. But as ash fall from the Thomas Fire kept potential customers at home, the family decided to close the business for good last December 20. Fortunately Santa Barbara Independent reporter D.J. Palladino says this story has a happy ending. Palladino reports that George Guevara, grandson of Agnes Guevara, the Matriarch Of The Rose Café who passed away in 2014, decided he wanted to reopen the place. I’m told that Guevara reopened on January 6, less than three weeks after closing. “I promise I didn’t change anything, except to make it a little better,” said Guevara.

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ISLANDS RESTAURANTS OPENS IN LA CUMBRE PLAZA

Known for specialty burgers, fresh cut fries and tropical drinks, Islands Restaurants has brought its surf-inspired atmosphere to Santa Barbara on February 13 at 3825 State Street. This marks the company’s first location in the Central Coast region.

Located at La Cumbre Plaza in the former home of Marmalade Cafe and Red Robin, the 4,900 square-foot location features an open layout, beachy décor and large HD TVs throughout the bar and restaurant. Guests can grab a seat at the bar, or enjoy a cocktail and meal in the outdoor patio area, equipped with heaters and a communal fire table.

The expansive menu features a variety of burgers – from the tried-and-true classic Big Wave, to the Hawaiian, topped with fresh grilled pineapple, teriyaki sauce and Swiss cheese – as well as flavorful tacos, bowls, fresh salads and its famed fresh-cut Island Fries. Guests can choose from a selection of tropical drinks including Islands’ signature Mai Tai and the Big Island Iced Tea or locally sourced wine and beer.

The Restaurant Guy and family stopped by to join a packed house at Islands and ordered the Malibu Burger, Hawaiian Burger, Beach Bowl with Grilled Fish, and Grilled Fish Tacos, pictured above. We finished off with a Chocolate Lava and Kona Pie. Needless to say all were amazing.

“We’re incredibly proud to open our first restaurant in Santa Barbara, an iconic beach city that resonates with our own coastal culture and origins,” said Michael Smith, president of Islands Restaurants. “We look forward to being a part of this close knit community and offering a spot for visitors to grab great food and drinks with family and friends.”

To support the community after recent natural disasters, Islands will donate a portion of the proceeds from Feb. 26-28 to the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund. This fund was established by United Way of Santa Barbara County and United Way of Ventura County to help residents recover from recent fire and mudslide damage.

Islands’ founder Tony DeGrazier started the company after being inspired by the beaches of Oahu during his time in the Navy. DeGrazier’s original vision of serving delicious, fresh food in a laid-back, tropical environment has remained true ever since.

Islands at La Cumbre Plaza is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Guests can enjoy happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every weeknight in the bar area for discounted offers on sliders, nachos, beer, wine and cocktails. For more information about Islands, or to learn how to become a member of Tiki Link and enjoy exclusive perks and special offers, visit islandsrestaurants.com.

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VALENTINE’S DAY AT PASCUCCI

This just in from Pascucci restaurant at 729 State Street:

HI John
I hope you’re doing well. As we all know, it’s been a very challenging couple of months for everyone in Santa Barbara, both emotionally and financially. Many people had reduced work and income. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon. For Valentines Day, we will be serving our regular menu, which is priced from $16.99 and under! In addition, we will offer  5 specials, priced from $18-24. Each special will include a choice of 2 sides.

  • Oven roasted 1/2 chicken with a sherry sage sauce
  • Halibut Piccata
  • Grilled Sirloin steak with choice of marsala mushroom-cream sauce or Gorgonzola crumbles
  • Scampi
  • Almond crusted salmon

Thank-you!
Laura Knight

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VALENTINE’S DAY AT BEAR AND STAR

Here is a press-release from Bear and Star at 2860 Grand Avenue, Los Olivos:

Los Olivos’ The Bear and Star, serving “Refined Ranch Cuisine” inspired by the Parker family hospitality at the eponymous Fess Parker Inn, celebrates Valentine’s Day Dinner on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, with a holiday menu created by Chef John Cox and his team. The Bear and Star has quickly been embraced by food-conscious diners applauding the restaurant’s sustainable menu program. The restaurant is a pioneer in Santa Barbara County in its true ranch to table philosophy, with a commitment to sourcing most of its meats, fowl and produce from the Parker ranch and organic farm or nearby purveyors, built on Santa Barbara County’s rich ecosystem.

Chef Cox’s extravagant Valentine’s Day dinner is perfect for toasting romance in the Santa Barbara Wine Country. The evening begins with an Amuse – Deviled Farm Egg with Caviar; followed by a First Course choice of Three Morro Bay Reserve Oysters with Santa Barbara Rock Crab “Rockefeller”; or Winter Greens with Crispy Country Ham, Asian Pear and Goat Cheese. The Second Corse is Parker Ranch Wagyu Short Ribs with Stone-Ground Polenta and Pan-Roasted Kale; or Wild Chanterelle Mushrooms with Creamy Toasted Orzo, Black Truffle Camembert and Lemon-Parsley Gremolata. Dessert is a perfect ending with either a Key Lime Pie with Graham Cracker Crust; or a Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake with Cassis. Petit Fours and Chocolate-Covered Strawberry are presented before guests depart. Sparkling and wine pairings are available for the dinner selected by The Bear and Star’s General Manager Robert Williams.

Pricing for the Valentine’s Day menu is $68 per adult and $35 additional for the optional wine and sparkling pairing. For those desiring to start their Valentine’s Day earlier, The Bear and Star also offers their complete fresh ranch menus for breakfast and lunch.

Valentine’s Day hours at The Bear and Star begin with morning breakfast from 7:00-10:00 a.m.; followed by Lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Dinner is served from 5:00 p.m. The public can enjoy the Bar and Star Bar from 3:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

$68 per guest for Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu
$35 additional for wine & sparkling pairings curated by The Bear and Star’s Robert Williams

Wednesday, February 14th
Breakfast from 7:00 A.M. – 10:00 a.m.
Lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Dinner from 5:00 p.m.

The Bear and Star
2860 Grand Avenue, Los Olivos, CA 93441
For Reservations: 805-686-1359 or OpenTable.com
www.thebearandstar.com

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VALENTINE’S DAY AT FINCH & FORK AND OUTPOST

Here is a press-release from Finch & Fork and Outpost:

Not sure if you plan on featuring Valentine’s Day happenings, but here are the details for Finch & Fork and Outpost.

Swipe Right party at Good Bar
If the traditional table for two isn’t your thing, head to Good Bar at the Goodland hotel for their Swipe Right party. The cheeky celebration will feature DJ Darla Bea, a Valentine-themed cocktail and dancing from 8pm-midnight. Tip: Head in early and enjoy some grub at Outpost, who will be serving specials in honor of Valentine’s Day, as well as their regular menu. 5650 Calle Real // OutpostSB.com

Swoon-worthy Specials at Finch & Fork
Downtown’s popular spot for fresh and flavorful cuisine is offering Valentine’s Day specials to toast to. Start with a seasonal Hiramasa Crudo with blood orange, nori, radish, ponzu and toasted peanuts. Move on to Braised Lamb Shank with winter squash, pomegranate, mint yogurt and crispy onions, or Mt. Lassen Trout with caramelized cauliflower, green chickpea puree, pine nuts and olive vinaigrette. Satisfy your sweet tooth cravigs with chef’s Strawberry Pavlova or Coconut Cake with hibiscus buttercream and caramelized pineapple. Reservations can be made at www.FinchandForkRestaurant.com or by calling 805-879-9100 // 31 West Carrillo St.

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VALENTINE’S DAY AT THE LARK

Here is a press-release from The Lark 131 Anacapa Street:

Chef Jason Paluska and the team at The Lark present Valentine’s Day dining with enticing dishes created for the ultimate romantic dining experience. The holiday will be celebrated on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018. Guests may choose from Chef Paluska’s romantic specials – Foie Gras Mousse with Feuille de Brick, Wood-Fired Ellwood Canyon Strawberries, Duck Fat-Roasted Hazelnuts, Pickled Rhubarb and Tarragon; or Butter-Poached Lobster with Creamy Parsnip Agnolotti, Sugar Snap Peas, Lobster Roe, Preserved Meyer Lemon and Pea Tendrils; and Grilled Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Fuji Apple Glaze, Fennel Kimchee, Yuzu Aioli, Lavash Cracker and Opal Basil.

The Lark also offers the complete market-driven dinner menu that has made the restaurant popular, with signature dishes of Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Medjool Dates; Roasted Beet Carpaccio; Japanese Hamachi Crudo; The Lark Porchetta di Testa; Crispy Duck Confit Wings; Caramelized Diver Scallops; Cast Iron-Roasted Sonoma Chicken; and Slow Cooked Beef Ribs.

Pricing is à la carte and ranges from $7 to $48 for the menu of small plates and large platters.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
5:00 p.m. to closing
The Lark
131 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
805.284.0370

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VALENTINE’S DAY AT LOQUITA

Here is a press-release from Loquita at 202 State Street:

Toast to Valentine’s Day with a specialty cocktail created by Bar Manager Gavin Koehn – Hierbas del Amor with Tarragon and Ginger-Infused Gin, Jerez Blanco Vermouth, Lemon, Campari, Rosé and Egg White. The four-course dinner begins with a First Course of Oysters; and a Salmon Tartare Cone with Feuille De Brick, Salmon Tartare, Salmon Roe & Piquillo Pepper; followed by a Second Course of Carpaccio de Porchetta with Pork Belly, Pickled Mustard Seed, Mustard Green & Chives; alongside Rabo de Toro with 20-Layered Potato Galette, Preserved Meyer Lemon Creme Fraîche, Braised Oxtail & Horseradish; and Camarón Frito – Fried Head-On Shrimp with Espelette. For the Third Course guests sample dishes of Zanahorias – Roasted Carrot with Honey-Sherry Glaze and Whipped Ricotta; and Pollo – Loquita’s Organic Rocky Chicken with Black Truffle, Robuchon Mash and Jus. Dessert completes the dinner with Chef Lee’s Chocolat Coulant – a Molten Lava Cake.

Pricing for Loquita’s Valentine’s Day Dinner is $75 per person. Additional wine pairing is available for $25 per person. Guests may also opt for the complete à la carte dinner menu instead of the Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu. Reservations are highly recommended and are available from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

$75 per person, with optional wine pairings an additional $25 per guest, excluding tax & gratuity. Reservations are highly recommended

Wednesday, February 14, 2018. Loquita reservations accepted between 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Loquita
202 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA  93101
805 880 3380

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FLIGHTLINE PHOTOS

Santa Barbara Airport aviation electronics maintenance guru Tom Smothermon sent me photos of the original Flightline restaurant that was located on the airport property next to where the new Flightline will open later this year in the former home of Elephant Bar and current home of High Sierra Grill.

Flightline photo taken on the south side of the building

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BIBI JI WINE BAR, BOTTLE SHOP AND RESTAURANT OPENS DOWNTOWN

Bibi Ji, a new wine bar, bottle shop and all-day restaurant from Rajat Parr and acclaimed chef Jessi Singh, opened on February 1st at 734 State Street, the former home of Relais de Paris. Singh, who’s been lauded for his Indian cooking at the popular Babu Ji restaurant in San Francisco, New York City and Melbourne, will serve a locally inspired seafood-focused menu with Australian and Indian influences, while the wine selection from James Beard Award-winning sommelier Rajat Parr features a dynamic and eccentric variety of uniquely affordable bottles designed to pair well with the food. The name Bibi Ji – an Indian term of endearment for women in the family – pays tribute to the formative women in both Jessi and Rajat’s lives who cultivated their love for food and hospitality. Both Jessi and Rajat are now living in Santa Barbara, and will be donating a portion of proceeds from Bibi Ji to support the Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance.

Drawing from his Australian and Indian roots, chef Jessi’s menu features his inauthentic take on many traditional American seafood dishes, with a strong focus on using local Santa Barbara purveyors. With the Santa Barbara Farmers Market just steps away from Bibi Ji, Jessi is sourcing nearly all of his ingredients there, and will be changing his menu regularly depending on what’s available in the market that week. The restaurant is partnering with fish monger Stephanie Mutz to source local oysters (served on the menu with green mango pickle butter) and sea urchin, which appears in the SB UNI biryani dish, served with fried rice. Additional dish highlights include Hope Ranch black mussels in a curry broth, Tandoori style octopus with a fennel slaw and Jumbo prawn with pineapple and jalapeño jam, as well as “Inauthentic Curries” such as Bibi Ji daal (ginger, garlic and tomatoes) and Coconut curry with turmeric and mustard seeds, served with the option of pink shrimp or vegetable, among others. The menu also features dishes that Babu Ji became known for at its locations in NYC and San Francisco such as the famed Colonel Tso’s cauliflower, Indo-Chinese style cauliflower in a tomato & chili sauce, and Gol gappa, tangy crispy stuffed shells. California cheesemaker Soyoung Scanlan of Andante Dairy is creating a rotating cheese plate that will be on the menu all day.

Bibi Ji is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, Bibi Ji will serve a happy hour menu with wines offered for $6 a glass and a special food menu, before transitioning to dinner service starting at 5pm. For more information, visit bibijisb.com and follow them on instagram @bibijisb.

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MONTECITO UPDATE 2/5

It is my understanding that all Montecito restaurants, coffee shops and markets are now open for business, not including those at San Ysidro Ranch and the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore. Bella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore reopens April 2 while Stone House and Plow & Angel are closed indefinitely due to the catastrophic flood that went through San Ysidro Ranch.

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212 HOT POT COMING TO ISLA VISTA

Reader Brendan says the Isla Vista space that formerly housed Kol’s Cafe, and before that, Crushcakes, has a sign indicating “212 Hot Pot” will be moving in. I stopped by the address at 6533 Trigo Road and was told by a worker that it will be a Chinese restaurant.

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FLIGHTLINE UPDATE

This just in from co-owner Warren Butler:

Hello John,

Thank you for your support for the hospitality industry during these trying times. I just wanted to give you an update:

The transformation is happening.  The High Sierra Grill & Bar at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta (formerly The Elephant Bar) is being transformed into the Flightline Restaurant & Bar.  Please let everyone know to come and as we are still open during the changeover and see all the great memorabilia going up room by room.  We have a great steak and eggs special and Rack of Ribs special and a 2 for $25 special to give everyone a preview as to what is to come!

I want to thank you for putting the word out that I was collecting some aviation memorabilia for the new concept.  I was contacted by many people including John Blankenship who has a  priceless aviation collection that he is more than excited to share with the community.  |

The end result is the FlightLine will be surpassing my original vision and I know it will be appreciated by the entire community.  So many people have told me how much they appreciate what we are doing in showcasing the history of aviation and the airport which Santa Barbara is so proud of..  So many people have a story and so many memories!!

Warren

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THE LITTLE DOOR UPDATE

This just in from reader Meg:

“I walked by The Little Door (129 E Anapamu Street) last week and learned that they would be reopening in a couple of weeks.”

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EAST BEACH GRILL CLOSES

Growing up in Montecito, one of my favorite hangouts was East Beach, which meant I spent a lot of time at East Beach Grill, the seaside restaurant on the first floor of the Cabrillo Pavilion Bathhouse. At the end of December, owner Francisco Aguilera’s lease ended, and the city closed the building for a $15 million renovation. In September 2016 the Santa Barbara City Council voted to allow Aguilera first chance at re-leasing the space after renovations are complete but they could not come to an agreement. Aguilera continues to own and operate Great Pacific Ice Cream Company and Char West on Stearns Wharf.

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